your voicemail starts with the adage, you see, the thing is – you were probably calling on your lunch break, your jeans likely torn, once at the knee, maybe below your ass, as you stood at the payphone in the back hallway of the grocery store – your skin chapped from the cold, especially above your lip – those months, you kept a turtle in our room, who lived in a hallway of lavender light – it was mostly hard to watch, her slow plodding only to arrive at another wall of glass, the refracted light blooming vapidly – I was taking photographs of the ground, sewing things up in small bundles & capsules, placing onion skin on my tongue for as long as I could hold – direct mark-making was usually too emotive for you – so we made nothing into home – our thoughts often changed locations, shuffled between our hands & our quality of looking out – in other words: we never knew what we wanted to do until we found ourselves doing it – because life was lived with a sense of compassionate waste – from one gift horse to another
“entry for compassionate waste” is titled after a line from Mary Ruefle’s Trances of the Blast.
Gabriel Jesiolowski works in a research-based practice using drawings, photographs, installations, poems, essays, and printed matter. They were a Fall 2016 writing fellow at the MacDowell Colony. Their first book, As Burning Leaves, selected by Carl Phillips, won the Benjamin Saltman Award from Red Hen Press and is due out in April 2017. They live in the San Juan Islands.