YOUR BODY IS JUST SITTING THERE

My family left Europe generations ago, fleeing from anti-semitism and economic oppression. For an American, that kind of suffering can feel (literally) far away, a part of the distant past. Returning to Europe as a student, however—first to France and now to England—makes it feel very recent and visceral. With ‘YOUR BODY IS JUST SITTING THERE’, I wanted to think about what it means to be American and Jewish in Europe, a place my relatives were desperate to escape from, and the intimate, physical ways in which alienation and exile manifest themselves.

1.

mostly i do not think about my Polish relatives and your Polish relatives

& who took up residence in whose houses but

sometimes, then, i do
think about it

2.

there was a memorial for it
( )
in berlin but no bodies

hundreds of gravestones and no bodies
was that the joke

german children kept playing
on the stones so i knew
at least something was still alive

3.

now it is Sabbath &
i continue to work

4.

remember when we were in the orchard
when i was in the orchard

it makes me so sad to
see the last light turned out

5.

what does it feel like
he asks
to be beautiful?

mina loy: ‘Beautiful
half-hour of being a mere woman
[…]
Understanding nothing of man’

6.

i talk about studying in france,
forget to mention
how i was cold for weeks
in july in the south

how the missing,
my host mother said,
made me cold

i wore sweaters—
i wrote about blue fingers—

how i lost my sense of taste,
avoided food,
then went to morocco

8.

i don’t miss new york but i miss something
or something misses me

9.

your body is just sitting there
raw exchange value
the way
your body is just SITTING THERE

10.

it is Sabbath &
i continue to work