GOOD EYE TO THE BOUGHS

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by Lehua Taitano009: TENDER

with REGENESIS: AN OPERA TENTACULAR (ACT 1)

a video by RIEKO WHITFIELD

I am home             sick

from work with the usual

upheaval

Bulge bubble and             groan I

threaten to burst

Troubled belly             bowels

of migraine, menstruation

a stupid chorus

Spirals             retinal

plummets gutted,             anal

All morning I crunch             out

with my knees the sun and double

two terrible tender worlds

One: in which I am             universal

particulate-ly quantum

slurry of sky and the surgeon’s knife

Another: in which I am nothing

but slime bowel and bloody             fingers

On the toilet

in the shower I say

It is too soon and otherwise indecent to speak of the baby in my sister’s belly who has ceased to be a surety and has become, to my aural eye, an anti-periphery.

Almost baby             memory baby             of

the obituary

Such a neat plot the             outskirts

of mournful visits

on and on into a photograph of obscurity

The baby’s name             stone

furrowed pinched timeline             furrowed

I see with dappled prediction

divisive vision

My sister, her husband

Who will run out of tending

a stone

She, my feathered sister

who will never                                     not

and the already toddler trends

Hairstyles again and             seasons

to resent Sundays.

I am no Åga             cloudsaying

it’s the nausea

spiraling me

Inside the magic box tilting

a lilt dumb chorus

Doubling back

one sister, or another a             nestling

pine siskin or its fallen sibling

Blind in one eye             crouched

at the base of double redwood(s)

And still

flapping, flapping

Sonar echoes congenital             heart

disease a birth defect

NICU open-             heart surgery

On the tile cold floor

eye pressed to grout

The chorus             infinite asks

What does it feel like to carry a death

inside your belly?

I vomit bitter and flush,

urge my wings upward             stratospheric

All the little bodies a strata             layering

earth’s millennia pattern a phrase:

Isn’t this the fate of all mothers?

The baby becomes narrowed     vessels

leaky atria

A team, a whole             host

will be there to receive

a five-pound patient

Sternum             saw

all the miraculous little instruments

What kind of aunti am I

such     thoughts

of troubled Spinus I could chit

To bear children in this world is to imagine the same satin whether

cradle or coffin.


REGENESIS: AN OPERA TENTACULAR

Regenesis: An Opera Tentacular is a three-act speculative mythology of cyclical life, death, and community inspired by the Shinto deity of creation and destruction, set in a world healing from the apocalypse.

In Act I the deity is summoned from a purgatory of forced silence to the ruins of a world she once created. She laments our violent rupture from ancestral knowledge and yearns for embodied connection.

Dreaming, screaming, and dying to be heard, Act I expresses a raw desire for tenderness and care toward our macrocosmic selves.

Rieko Whitfield


LEHUA TAITANO writer

Lehua M. Taitano is a queer Chamoru writer and interdisciplinary artist from Yigu, Guåhan (Guam), familian Kabesa yan Kuetu, and co-founder of Art 25: Art in the Twenty-Fifth Century. She is the author of Inside Me an Island and A Bell Made of Stones. Taitano’s work investigates modern indigeneity, decolonization, and cultural identity in the context of diaspora.

RIEKO WHITFIELD artist

Japanese-American Rieko Whitfield weaves immersive worlds with speculative mythologies through performance, moving image, installation, sculpture, painting, music, and text. Her non-linear storytelling decenters narratives of Western capitalist individualism to move towards beyond-human collectivism.

She has exhibited in and worked with institutions such as the Palais de Tokyo, the Saatchi Gallery, the Wellcome Collection, Gasworks, IMT Gallery, Harlesden High Street, and NN Contemporary.

Whitfield is an MA graduate of the Royal College of Art and the founder of London-based performance art platform Diasporas Now.

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