tragedy in joutsa




YB





k. says they worshipped the stones


stones, i expound, are worshippable because they are abstract and unmarked, repositories of thermal energy, just like the notre dame, once it burned, became an obsidian lodged in the city material, only now can we speak to its silent back. ilya said, when he looked out from the window of his hostel capsule, he couldn’t understand what dark body was rising out of the middle of paris, until he pieced it together: charred smoldering carcass.


of course it later came out that the n.d. had in fact burned to the ground, ilya was not sure what it is he saw from the window of that hostel, and whatever it was, he could never find it again.


//




notes on process 1


ulyana kravchenko

dooms us to eternal return

so I do her

or she does herself

but each time with an error


I am only here for rickety diplomacy

to carry water through the cracks of my fingers or a broken bowl

Liselille - like

a partial abduction for the ever thirsty, directed by that thirst like a dog, groping like one too


against my better judgment


also any inscriptions on the undersides of leaves, emphatic supplications by squirrels, or otherwise must be ignored

as irrelevant or part of another story


this last thing i will not do however


//




old time


crawl onto a heavy-duty double-folded blanket

light (it is always either too much or too little, and never indicative of anything, like christmas, or the end of march, or the time to plow) scattered scantily as through smoke

and reach for your phone with chilblained fingers because you have no clue where you are or what you are seeing


you are not the animal you used to be


you are another kind of animal:

yesterday inside of one cocoon we could only wish for another



//


it is through metaphor that we can mark tracts of empty homogenous time


like we used to track the sun (where the ray lands on the door, on the wall), shadows (our own, the building’s, the cow’s), the moon, stars, bird behavior; the appearance and disappearance of plants.


now that we are in an endless end, the metaphor does not point to a specific time, but still gives tiny comfort, like a candle flame, the underseat lifejacket, the single “freudian” cup and saucer (completely subjective association with the restrained gray border and elegant floral motif) you brought with you when emigrating with a single suitcase; small carrying capacity, but with metaphors even a small word will sometimes do.


//




kravchenko x biletska flower names


epicless ninepower

lord’s grass

violet-flowerd scythedness

god’s sapling

cuckoocakes (fragrant)

granite candlesses

yellow thimbles

trembelle

cottonesse

svelte gold hangings

so long, so nice


//


certain things have a claim on you:


sphagnum, the layer beneath thats wet but doesnt give you water, that smells like gold and staunches the wounds of crying babies; the layer on top that pillows rubies, makes cleaner whats clean; holds islands that can hold you and your lover; its no wonder you cant leave, feel sorrow when you do, feel shame when it writes, because even though it’s been decided, drastically as always, that you’ll never come back, you still know you’re just about one call away, one breeze-blow or wagtail wag from running across the hillocks of moss, regular moss covering the long-healed, cicatrix on lost limb, across the ankle-bending ancient vyvorotens and things strewn about by the last glacial age... getting close to the edge, down on your knees, nose to the bog, and sucking, sucking.


//


there is a resident here who never leaves and we hardly ever see

like emily dickinson she has grown old in her room and wears only white

her tongue is worn and leathered like the family labrador’s from licking shut the envelopes she addresses  

to every tree on the tree farm

begging its forgiveness

new trees are always growing

and so emily’s work is never over


//




i come from a long and ancient line (i.e. humans)


i wish this made me feel safe, so I could forget myself

then find myself like the bumblebee yesterday in a world of stricter geometry and still have the nerve to raise my foot at the mountain like no pasaran, but not really mean it, or mean it but not terminally, like I am just playing with you, mountain, I am just playing


but alas I am not x years like she

I am baby

stream turning on itself in a wash cycle thats kept me wet these doggone years

faithful to master where I could help it

holding a mirror

asking you to hold it

inviting external observers

inviting myself round to softer places and making a mess of them

like crushing dry moss, just misunderstanding the basic state of it, looks the same after all

talking in a silly voice or being rude because the lust of some person has had my back for five minutes and when it fades, theyre in the bathroom or out of view or for some other reason, I am naked.


turns out the bumblebees arent so bumbling. in spring the overwintered females are the largest theyve been, yet in the north theyre the only ones out on the daintiest of blueberry flowers, like pink fairy lanterns, so small and difficult to approach you thought theyd be pollinated by wind. the bumblebees do it. and if you find their nests youll also find theyre anarchists and potters of the idiosyncratic kind, they make vessels and bowls, plates, models of the universe, small water whistles shaped like birds, bas reliefs of crevices they find peculiar, forms molded to their ideas but in a tasteful way, always with a gap or counterpoint, never tautological.


doesnt that just make you want to die.


//


where did i read it that translation was an ancient curse and a healing art both


//


i must think hydrogen bombs are like hay bales


shiny, tight, round, and white

only the bombs, I must think, are more perfect spheres

whereas the bales are spheroids

imperfect like our planet


i must think that to drop all these spheres is like popping bubbles left behind by the small brown duck in the small black crater lake left behind by the forest care service when it came through ripping the trees and the ground apart:


nothing I will do anything about as I stand stunned gripping a heartsore birch


i told you: outside, there is something to do with jackals.

you came back with a cleaned skull of the smallest pup.


//




i wanted to give you a meadow but i got tired


//


woodcutters’ paradise


all woodcutters go to heaven

unlike you and me

who

move stones around

and dredge moss

focus

industriously

seriously

move material into spirals

stare long enough till a rhizome appears holographic on a pine trunk

admitting us to the guild of the righteous

dont blink!

tears will form

that can nurture apple trees on granite

tie knots

weave wicker fences

repurpose

anxiously look stuff up on wikipedia

observe intensely

take cues from actor-network theory

open our hearts to climate catastrophe and make a low visceral moan

something about our worthlessness and our shame

we are always stuck at the gates of heaven

out of key

stalking our battered wives

like the lonely cat who fights and cant stop

maybe in our dreams, we think, maybe in our dreams

but when we do

they are intense with mediocrity, unimaginative, obsessed with the woodcutters,

whose laughter is innocent and sweet like tinkling glass

as they eat sandwiches soft and fluffy like the air in heaven


//


it is not always clear why we are here

are we ashamed to take a vacation?

running from war? visiting friends? avoiding people?


have we been here before? have I seen you somewhere before?


//


tragedy in joutsa


the animals are no longer playful

the language is bone tongued

the sun never sets


//




notes on process 2


looking through muddy water

waiting for birch warts to dress the branch


in gooped time


she’s sniffing around my body for things to take


calm our hearts

give us flowers give us flowers

we want lilies


i’ve been pwned


parts of us lodge in places and things

what if you’re always leaving

nothing to give but things i take from you


tree farm frozen too

chunks of ice — boulders —


melt them

to smaller stones

with a full-body movement

decant across three or more carafes

finally, let your other self bend the rowan fully sideways

suddenly, ineffably


//


repetition, like translation, can lose things in the process; some of the elements may become resistant, begin to be naughty; in this sense, this "dissenting" / infected filtration is in opposition to the Greek totalizing unification project


//



it’s important to clarify your voice

else people will arrive with no clue about why and how they got here

else they’ll just walk around asking

is this your wotah is this your wotah

and play around with guitar riffs


or come up to talk to you

in public places, such as at film festivals,

opening their little mouths and creating ambiguity

when they know better, you guys


see there’s hot noise and cold noise

and cold noise is like

unequivocal statements

bullets ripping through the air

holy rage for the hot topic

(oh flame the heat in the heart, let the doves and lilies be with us)


whereas hot noise is like a proliferation of werewolves — always untimely



//




take care


(for Katya Libkind)


zipped k. into the stomach, carried her into the trees to gestate

which looks like pulling, relaxing, pulling again


today, at the end of the line, it was k.,

who is stuck


remember k.?. I ask.

noncommittal turn of the head.

(I once had a vision they would melt into each other

some sort of roleplay, a psychoanalytical performance)


libkind

liebe kind

beloved child

kravchenko

craftchenko

woven child


in the dead middle of last summer

she cried, produced puke,

put extinct cephalopods inside herself,

made copies of wasps’ nest openings

(rings of petals so small they were stepped on during presentation)

except where theirs were blue, hers were yellow,

where theirs were yellow, hers were blue

you always knew

about the gap, owned the gap

mistress of worrying the hole

when it seemed everything had been done before, so many repetitions,

we thought there’d be enough for a whole book (or two)


now I’m watching squirrels fly pine to pine

opening my heart to intrusions of all sorts

(these dark barrens — our citadels

these tall spruces — our original gothic)

and you’re stuck, you say

too late to leave, too bad to stay

melting into a sludge of complexity you can’t work

& nothing hits as good as the first month of war

like sharp clear cleansing water

of the river Psel

where we swam naked

not 2 miles from the border


k. says we have slugged the draught of luxury and fun

and ardor’s fire has charred our wings


you’re repeating yourself

fighting people who represent other people

places that represent other places

seeking enchantment

back into clarity

a cold hard resolute signal

a straight-shot lasso sent on the rhythm of

breath and footfall

breath and footfall


while I, here, in the sanctity of my temple, hope you take care to fall into the murkiest of bogs


(get up, red girl! get tired, red girl!)


//


and the heavens’ blue

and the grasses’ fervent green

and the cherries’ white branch

all says to us:



immanent apocalypse

insistent mediocrity


//




on wednesdays they fire up the room of rest and relaxation, wheel in all the tired war machines, and let us drape our bodies over them in heart-opening poses (camel, extended side-angle). fancy salt, craft bottles of birch sap, the smell of ozone, a small boutique library, completely revisable contracts, and consent that can be withdrawn at any time — all of these things allow me to love my homeland at a distance, which, some say, is how it is loved best.


for this reason, any book I open here will say:


blight toyed with curses

with criminal hands, metallic foals, delicacy of white chiton



or


earth lurched

cedar fell

black clouds covered

bolts fell out



or


girls went to weave NOISE

oh girls, boys, to weave NOISE

and our noise has got a green fur

oh girls, boys, went to weave NOISE


etc.


such is my prerogative.


//





the way we melt over the machines reminds me of the way the sky-blue saw chain lay innocently on top of the pine limbs it itself relieved from life. the chain, ultimately, belongs to an american diplomat who has ridden the world over including south africa and now he (or a representative) rides a large lawnmower across a small fenced area here in rural finland, we saw just last week. when he cut down every other tree in the virgin forest across the street, he asked j. what he thought of it, and j. said to please come back later, because perhaps the american diplomat does not wish to hear what j. currently thinks of it (such is j.’s delicacy). the american diplomat has a wife who lives in helsinki in an apartment and refuses to come to the house. we don’t know why but what if it’s about a gaudy violet frame framing a hanging pot of petunias in the driveway and/or the completely affectless and dedicated way this man documents local species: canada goose, violet webcap, common bream, meadow grasshopper, common chaffinch, viviparous lizard, etc. we wish we could say we know more about the local species than the diplomat, but this is untrue. especially concerning the fauna, of which he seems to have a good grasp (he is literally holding many of these birds by the leg).


//


the wide environment worries. from flowers to herbs, everything that bloomed has hung its head, bowed, bent-portended. children rip boughs and silk flowerheads, throw them underfoot, in sign of victory.


refer to things by their names, focus on analysis: what is the definition of the name, does the object before me fit the definition?


refer to things by their qualities, focus on experience: if the object causes the named sensation, it can be so categorized regarding of formal name/definition: this can lead to noun seepage: the noise-making is the ancient word-quality that coagulated into noise that coagulated into forest. during more fluid states, the noise-making might have been the forest, yes, but also the pines-and-the-babbling-brook-as-pocket, the pine-tops-and-wind collaboration, certainly the storm and the water on rocks, leaves flying in a great mass against moss carpet, fragrant herbs undulating in waves against bark.


the wolf, prior to hardening, by the way, was the distorting, the mutilating, then the gray.


//




love


when tired objects are quiet and beginning to show qualities exceeding their definitions, the woodcutters put them in the noise-maker (the noising, the green furred, or simply NOISE), into which, with time, they will seep as it accepts them into its infinite frequencies. it is thus the noise-maker learns the objects at the deepest level of detail. this is touching for the objects. they have been close but never so intimate with the noise-maker before, maybe because they always took the lead out of fear of losing control. now they can be undressed. one cannot help but assume that later, when the pines fly down these country roads at great speeds, the truck bed is soft, the blur of the road is thrilling, oxytocin smooths any incongruences.


//




kravchenko in joutsa


maybe I was there in some embodiment?

maybe my name should have been Asta, Astrid, or Gilda, or Gretta

in the kingdom of the long day and long night,

in a story about the beginning of the world


when I close my eyes and put her by the lake, she

breaks back her hands, sends eyelashes into anguished angles

hai hai, she says, meaning expression of sorrow and regret

hai hai, meaning detachable broadleaf forest of low places

unviable, just goes back to doing invisible unguided business

a non-playable character in pinewood


a good trick, detachment, I know it from living in a grove myself

and watching games, girls, blossoms in a whorl, between the boughs

someone asks me, do you feel anything? does your heart tremble?

are you myst? do you live, or only come up for air out of legends of the past?


when things are too close you can’t tell what you’re looking at

when desires are satisfied you can be frozen out of time in a bad way

it is known from Ukraine to Finland


every triumph-prize combines with loss,

every minute clouded in crowds of reveling ephemerides,

in the throng I lose my “I”, I divide



best get on top of the mountain where the petrified girl still stands

(to remind us of all this)

it is quiet and empty, but ulyana is about three pages away from the end

and, like the girl, her chrysanthemums are athanasic,

so she hears ringing voices from the highland,

singing haivka, girls’ ancient grovecraft and our earliest language arts that

moon over as the sun sets behind the slope


//




for Ilya


moistening the lips of the dead to hear their proclamation:

the container will be larger than the thing it holds


I am not my own, for better or for worse I am watched and must enfold your desires, which I imagine.


For better.


Here is her spatial practice:

She sets out from the house, keeping it in mind. As she walks into the forest, she keeps keeping it in mind. She keeps in mind the entire space she navigates. She expands to hold it.


This is both invisible and painful.


and yet have you noticed that all they unearth is vessels, never what’s inside

a spine is a dangerous thing to have

you might disappear in mysterious way, leaving only traces

you might be pursued by church or administration


you will find refuge in rhythm (grushevsky says our rhythmic forms are such basic goods of ours as our four limbs and our spinal cord)

teenage games

mimicry

ornament (all that’s worth working for?)

turns of the sleeve, colors of the sleeve, movements of the hand

if a bird lands on your palm, don’t pay attention to it

(especially if it is a talking bird)

better yet, stay home

watch the way you open your eyes

watch the way you open your mouth

pour oat milk


Amvrosiy Metlinsky: When speaking, the Russian visibly tenses his lip muscles, contracts the mouth, which causes the sounds to strain, so to speak, and imprint with special force and sharpness (which has, when pronounced clearly, its own charm). The Ukrainian’s sounds, by contrast, freely and loosely fly and flow on an airwave from the open mouth, and this accounts for the softness, gentleness, and melody of his pronunciation.


lots to learn


//




june 12


ritual:


two adults join hands and follow the white line of the blacktop

the woman crushes the body of a concussed bumblebee (or dragonfly) underfoot

in 20 seconds

there will be a revelation

but only if you forget you read this

either way, before you’re home, a swan will fly over the twitch grass field and into the pine farm

do not speak to it


//


(on finding out its green week)

the crooked week is here and not a thousand wreaths will save us now

as the date approaches, he will notice curvatures:

on windows, lines, previously rectilinear objects

layers that modestly lay compressed begin to swell and drip rounder

until finally, opening the document, he finds a circle dance instead of a text, that devilish pastime, with nothing in the center that can be seen


not with the damned dead boys

not with the man who didn’t make it back to his psychiatric facility after evacuation


should’ve not forgotten

should’ve taken care


to make a bridge between weaving birch hoops and this place

where the window frames, the door knocking, the eyebrow tilt, anything, anything, makes us shudder and suspect


they say that june absorbs many signs and gives few back,

which is why its signs are so indistinct:


the nightingale chokes on the barley ear

the cuckoo chokes on its journey

you stroke my thigh in the hammock


//




june 13


oh let it be the guelder rose over me

like the love-shock of a frosted handful by the winter apple

oh let it be you, dear friend, to do it

we’ll call it symbolic rest

thinking this way opens me to time and space from the center

unlike the deadening preparations of the clench

that would have me close the door

thats some devil shit


in the ordered room i know just where the knife is

the heart-stopping lily


//


the reason youre tired is because youre trying to make a warzone look like a cloud

takes a lot of effort

also the place you live isnt real


after a while even the pines make you crazy

you have to lower the blinds

the sun has something to do with it

they cant even hide from themselves


//


it’s my privilege to be here in the thin space

but it’s haunted


//




june 14


the undead collect canned goods

shoes, hip manipulations, dried fruit, markers, night-vision goggles

they know all of the beautiful names of the war machines:

stinging nettle

willow

carnation

peony

which is how they sidle in

to form sacred geometry over my retinas

—plowfields

where the single broad-limbed tree

grew outward with no competition

and was left alone

to give shade to livestock

except now there’s no livestock

and it’s just there because of habit

misunderstanding

mercy

or forgetfulness

the hothouse flower


//


cropfields generate their own rocks

then spend years pushing them to the side

while in the forest they just live with them


//


ghosts abound:

from under the scythe

out of the biomass

the old school

the assassinated aspens


//


intrusion of the very alive

who is the ghost?


they are working in frozen time

cut off from the past

liselille after drinking from the cup


//


we are aliens on hinterland deliverables

churning out fine products:

squinting practice thatll show you forest for farmland

a list of beautiful uses for wood


//


here are the rocks we dredge up:

x

x

x

x


//


until you finally make it to a road that seems to have no purpose: too winding, the stones are too large.


proof: bolete the size your head


//


if we’re playing lets play


//




june 19


grabbed her with such desperation my knuckles turned white and I could only speak of this action, didn't even dare look at her


just smelled her hair

ate her hair


june 21


now time stretches out so long i don't know what to put in it

and with my discerning tongue too

a little waldrop

a little water

the pastries she eats


dispersed and endless, there's no point to me now i know the clench is also the desire to define


maybe i was only holding my breath to go lower, where the light might be broken by a million things, i grow gills


hello


it turns out i am the void

and will no longer be writing to you

do you miss mommy


so much fucking time has passed

we are getting sunburned and decidedly fatter


steeped also in protrusions of lack:

rose water, lilac syrup, blood

beetle on its back


mother said, I never thought you noticed, it all seemed to run right off

silly goose


dont wait up

p. s. and now you’ll never know where i put all your shit :)


//




midsummer


so much functional rest today im staring at cowbells

mugwort three ways

and the sun finally set


there are three important things i did at tuo tuo:


met you

wrote a cycle in prose

stopped writing


//


i used to talk to horses

now they fly by like lanterns


//








YB is an artist whose residency at TUO TUO was facilitated by the Artists at Risk (AR) Ukraine Solidarity Team.

Read an interview with YB here.


Voices: Emma, KDH, Sara K., Joni, Roby, Andrew, Hanna, Shia, Dorothy, Sara B. 



Many thanks to AR & Arts Promotion Center Finland (Taiteen edistämiskeskus) for supporting this project.